Title: Pretties (Uglies #2)
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Published: November, 2005 by Simon & Schuster
Purchase: The Book Depository
Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she’s completely popular. It’s everything she’s ever wanted.
But beneath all the fun — the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom — is a nagging sense that something’s wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally’s ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what’s wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.
Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life — because the authorities don’t intend to let anyone with this information survive.
This started out SO slow. Set in New Pretty Town, I just couldn’t get into the characters. I got that their brains had been messed with, but it didn’t make for enjoyable reading. I mean, how many times can you listen to characters say ‘bubbly’ or ‘bogus’ before you want to hurl the book across the room? The pacing was just off for me. It was one of those books where you felt the need to put it down every 20 or so pages and go find something else to do. Of course, I got around that by forcing my way through it, but you shouldn’t have to do that. Luckily the second half picks up a bit.
Bubbly, bubbly, bubbly. Characters frequently used this term to signify something that excited them or a state of mental alertness. I think this was the new ‘hoverboards’, it was so overused that I couldn’t stand whenever someone said it. I’m reminded of Gretchen Wieners of Mean Girls trying to make ‘fetch’ happen. Except that that was actually fun. This book had no humour—only Tally, now made pretty, empty-headed before she embarks upon her defiance against the powers that be.
Inserting a bout of romantic entanglements, we had a sort-of love triangle this time around. It wasn’t that bad though. Tally never seemed to be torn between the two guys, rather forgetting one and moving on to another. I was thankful for that. We weren’t subjected to endless internal monologues wondering which boy she should choose. It felt like the choice was already made. I can’t say that the romance was overly enticing, or the relationships that deep, but the book is more about the world and not the characters.
If there weren’t so many random side characters popping up I think it’d be easier to connect with the main ones, to help develop their bonds. Characters like Shay, a friend who Tally betrayed in the first book, could have had much more of a part throughout the book, but hardly appeared. Instead, we spent most of it developing Tally’s new love interest in between pulling tricks and looking for colonies. It just felt like more of the same, not really getting us anywhere with the mystery behind the series. The only thing that it really accomplished was making Tally come across as some sort of superwoman.
The ending made up for things in a way, but in all honesty, books one and two could have been compressed into one, giving a much tighter, fast paced story that would have had me hooked. So much of it dragged even though the premise is actually quite enticing. I love the ideas behind this world, and seeing how the people that came before them destroyed themselves. It’s all really interesting, but just not paced in a way that held my interest. I’ll be back for more though. I really want to see how he manages to tie things up—and whether or not it’s bubbly.
If you enjoyed the first book I’d give this a go, but if you found it lagging last time around, this might not be for you.